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Birmingham Egg Rolls

Ms. Finiky Jun 2, 2010 10:44 AM

Where do you get your favorite egg rolls, and spring rolls, fried or non-fried, in Birmingham?

My favorite egg rolls are from Chop Suey Inn. I also like the spring rolls at Surin, at Chen express, and the fresh spring rolls at Pho Que Huong.

Any other suggestions of places to get rolls?

Chop Suey Inn
813 Green Springs Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35209

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    Big Daddy Jun 2, 2010 12:44 PM

    The fried spring rolls are great at Pho Que Huong, as well. Almost all meat, well-seasoned. Fried spring rolls, cha gio, are a close second at Saigon Noodle House on U.S. 280 (Target Plaza).
    Fresh rolls, which Saigon Noodle House also confusingly calls "spring rolls", also are very good there -- my favorites in town. Fillings include shrimp, shrimp and pork, char-broiled pork (yum), tofu and vegetable. What makes them special is they roll up a spring roll skin so it looks like a pencil, deep fry that and stick it in the middle of the fresh roll. The crunchiness of that contrasts with the softness of the noodles inside and rice paper skin.
    I am not a fan of egg rolls because spring rolls have spoiled me. The doughiness (from the addition of egg to the batter) of the former often becomes a conduit to soak up grease, while spring roll (made from a batter with no egg), stay crispy and non-greasy.
    I'm glad to see a growing number of Chinese restaurants around town are offering spring rolls along with their eggrolls. We've enjoyed the spring rolls at Black Pearl (has it reopened yet?) Wan's (which I'm now boycotting; long story), Ming's, China Moon and the ones recently added to the menu at New Chinatown.
    The Chinese versions tend to be mostly cabbage, sometimes with some mung bean noodles (glass noodles). It's fine, since my wife is a vegetarian.
    But give me a meaty Vietnamese spring roll any day.

    Black Pearl
    3419 Colonnade Pkwy Ste 600, Birmingham, AL 35243

    Saigon Noodle House
    4606 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35242

    10 Replies
    1. re: Big Daddy
      Jannae Jul 20, 2010 06:55 PM

      In response to Big Daddy's inquiry to Black Pearl. They reopend today (07/20/2010). My husband and I went in for an early dinner tonight, and have been mourning the passing of the restraunt we once loved.

      The new menu is slimmed down to one page. The meals are smaller, served in an octogan-shaped foam to-go box, even for those eating in.

      The spring rolls are the same you find everywhere else - out of a box dumped in oil and allowed to soak up the grease. The dumplings did not taste fresh, and looked to be pre-made stock store thawed blandness.

      The owners also own Pablos at the other end of the shopping complex, and explained the new store concept as "focusing on to-go orders, and self service." Yeah, there's nothing like eating soup out of a styrofoam cup with plastic spoons. We didn't try the egg rolls, but were so disappointed for the food and the price, I'll depend on another reviewer to tell me if those at least were above par.

      Black Pearl
      3419 Colonnade Pkwy Ste 600, Birmingham, AL 35243

      1. re: Jannae
        Big Daddy Jul 21, 2010 07:39 AM

        That is devastating news. For a place run by Mexicans, the old Black Pearl was pretty good (actually it was better when run by the Chinese guy who originally owned it; he sold it and wanted to open that Chinese garden that never really got off the ground.

        That also leaves us with few decent Chinese food options in that area. I do like Ming's, but it's not all that convenient to us in cahaba Heights (to avoid 280 traffic, we have to take back roads to the Target plaza, then cross 280). The Asian wok place on Cahaba River Road is decent, but not much more. We're boycotting Wan's because they've messed up our orders way too many times. Ping's has been more miss than hit.

        Wish New Chinatown (5 Points South) would open a second location in our neighborhood. It's not on par with Mr. Chen's and Red Pearl, but it's a notch above middle-tier cheapo Chinese places and has a great selection of vegetarian dishes.

        1. re: Big Daddy
          Dax Jul 21, 2010 08:45 AM

          Please expound on your favorite offerings at New Chinatown.

          Also, Shangri-la has some nice options, although no Chen's or Red Pearl.

          1. re: Dax
            Big Daddy Jul 21, 2010 12:41 PM

            Since my wife is a vegetarian, we enjoy the various tofu dishes there, especially the garlic tofu, mongolian "chicken" tofu. I don't have a menu in front of me, but will update when I do. They also make good hot and sour soup.
            Like I said, it's middle of the road, a notch or two above the norm.
            What do you like at Shangri-la? My experiences (distant) weren't so good, but I think I ordered wrong.

            1. re: Big Daddy
              Dax Jul 21, 2010 01:05 PM

              I've only been to Shangri-La twice. I had the seafood soup and the ma po and both were tasty although not life altering. They have summer rolls on the menu but have not tried them. Would love to try the Peking Duck but at $40 it had better be perfect (I miss the call ahead 3 course options at this little dive in Boston's chinatown for $24 total). Also love that they do a version of ginger and scallion lobster but not sure it's prepared traditionally or not ...


              1. re: Dax
                deepfriedkudzu Jul 21, 2010 05:38 PM

                I'm not a fan of Shangri-La, although they deliver to my neighborhood so every so often they drop by. Since the subject of this thread is egg rolls, I have to add that Shangri-La's egg rolls are among my *least* favorite just about anywhere.

                I'm crazy for great spring rolls (quite like the ones at Taste of Thailand on Lorna), but when I have to have an egg roll, I, like Ms. Finiky, go for Chop Suey Inn on Greensprings.

                It is well-rumored that they somehow got the recipe for them from Joy Young, B'ham's first Chinese restaurant. My parents-in-law, who knew the old Joy Young restaurant well, agree that CSI's egg rolls are very, very close if not the same recipe.

                Chop Suey Inn
                813 Green Springs Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35209

                Shangri-La Restaurant
                4702 Johnston St, Lafayette, LA 70503

                1. re: deepfriedkudzu
                  Jannae Jul 21, 2010 09:56 PM

                  By the way, the new Chop Suey Inn down on 280 has opened. I haven't stopped by on my way in from work yet, but plan to do it before we move next week.

                  For those familiar with where Cuban Grill was on 280, they took over that spot.

                  1. re: Jannae
                    hlsess Jul 22, 2010 02:02 PM

                    I also agree that chop Suey inn's egg rolls are so close to Joy Youngs recipe-We went there as a family growing up. I am a fan of Shangri La b/c it's very close- I love their summer rolls and shrimp/black beans, and szechuan combination-- Most everything there is good but I don't venture to Mr. Chen's or Red pearl.

                    1. re: hlsess
                      Jannae Jul 23, 2010 03:48 AM

                      Stopped by Chop Suey Inn on 280 yesterday. The eggrolls were absolutely fantastic. I'd have to say one of the best eggrolls I've had in a very long time.

                      1. re: hlsess
                        Big Daddy Jul 23, 2010 07:53 AM

                        Thanks for the Shangri-la suggestions, Dax and hlsess. My in-laws love that place and it's not far from where my mother-in-law lives, so it's always an option if we eat out.
                        I don't expect places like Shangri-la, or even some of the places I enjoy like Ming's and New China Town to hit the level of Mr. Chen's or Red Pearl. Those two are in the majors, but it's also good to know where to find a decent Triple-A team, especially at times when the major-league restaurants are geographically inaccessible.
                        Having said that, I'm constantly amazed at the quality Chen's and Red Pearl offer for basically the same price or sometimes less than the minor-league restaurants.
                        Now if we could just get some good dim sum in town.

                        New China Town
                        1020 20th St S, Birmingham, AL 35205

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